Sights For Sore Eyes

Mar 4, 2011 at 2:09 am
A long day at work and the knowledge that I have another one coming tomorrow didn't even threaten to ruin the first day proper of Blowout 14, but it did mean that I kept things largely low key and stuck to the comfortable surroundings of the Gates of Columbus Hall for the majority of the evening.

An 8.40 slot at Kelly's Bar for Over Macho Grande and their classic sounding hard rock complemented by a man who operated the lights via a guitar shaped device started things off nicely, and then I went over to Smalls for Carradine's 9.00 set, but they were late going on so I went to the GoC having still not had the Carradine experience.

I did manage to catch the end of Tone & Niche's set, enough to hear some sweet indie rock and hear the line "your face looks like a monster in drag".

By the time Hi Speed Dubbing walked on the big stage, the crowd was starting to build nicely. HSB were typically excellent too. They've abandoned the early experiments with electronic gadgetry in favor of a regular four-piece format, but their songs throw enough curve balls to make them entirely irregular.

Scarlet Oaks were a pleasant surprise with their rootsy indie folk. Some pretty harmonies and strong tunes were enough to make me want to see them again and check out their record.

Poor Smash Television. Technical difficulties meant that their DJ gave up and left the stage, leaving the hip-hop duo to rap over their iPod. Fortunately the two men have enough charisma to pull it off. Plus, it was very cool to hear some quality hip-hop at the Blowout. Great job, fellas.

Italian Picture Factory, featuring members of Millions of Brazilians, didn't really do it for me. Maybe further attention is required, but not one one of their tunes hit home, unlike both the High Strung and the Sights, for whom all of the songs hit home. After years of constant touring, the High Strung are a formidable unit and they're a whole ball of fun to see. With a song on the hit TV show Shameless, they have everything going for them right now, and they deserve it.

Similarly, there's little Sights main man Eddie Baranek needs to learn about the art of performing. Tonight, rather predictably, he was a live wire, shaking his head like a playful Labrador. New tunes sat comfortably alongside old favorites, and everyone in the crowd but one particularly obnoxious drunk guy danced with a beaming smile on their faces. The perfect party band.

The evening ended with what seemed to be an actual party on the big stage, in the form of the JSB Squad. Members of the Satin Peaches, Lightning Love, Millions of Brazilians, the Hard Lessons and more all played together. The most amazing thing is that they all sounded quite tight, despite looking like a house party jam session. Also, Leah Lightning Love can play a mean French horn.

It was very amusing to see Aaron from Lightning Love and Justin from Hi Speed Dubbing, both obviously hammered drunk, just wandering around the stage, not really knowing what to do.

And that was it. Now sleep, and then let's do it again.